What is Contingency Theory of Leadership?
Fred E. Fiedler developed the primary contingency model in 1967. Fiedler and his associates made extensive research for quite thirty years and developed a theory called Fiedler’s Contingency Theory. The contingency theory of leadership is one of the situational approaches to leadership.
FieldFielder proposed that effective group performance depends on the right match between the leader’s sort of interaction together with his followers and therefore the degree to which things allowed the leader to regulate and influence. He distinguished two leader personalities which are task-oriented leaders and human relations-oriented leaders.
Fielder’s contingency theory of leadership, suggests that the simplest leadership style depends upon the extent of situational control, that is, the degree of power and influence that the leader possesses during a particular situation.
Consistent with Fielder, situational control is suffering from three factors within the following order of importance, leader-member relations, task structure, and position power. A quick explanation of those factors is as follows:
- Leader-Member Relations – Leader-member relation is the degree to which employees trust and respect the leader and are willing to follow his guidance. A leader can be more effective if he is trusted and liked by followers and if they are willing to accept his influence.
- Task Structure – It refers to the extent of clarity standardization or ambiguity in the work activities assigned to the group. If the task is clear and routine, group members can be easily held responsible for performance. A low-task structure describes an ambiguous situation with changing circumstances and unpredictable events.
- Position Power – It is the extent to which a leader possesses legitimate, rewarding, and coercive power over subordinates. A situation with high position power lets the leader hire people and directly reward or punish behavior. A leader with less power can not take such actions.